Lawyers want capital punishment abolished too

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Activists hold heart-shaped signs in calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia. Lawyers in Malaysia welcome a proposal to abolish mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers, but say capital punishment too should be abolished. – Reuters file pic, November 19, 2015.

Activists hold heart-shaped signs in calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia. Lawyers in Malaysia welcome a proposal to abolish mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers, but say capital punishment too should be abolished. – Reuters file pic, November 19, 2015.

Criminal lawyers today threw their support behind a proposal to abolish the mandatory death sentence for drug-trafficking offences, saying it was a step in the right direction.

However, they took it a step further by urging Putrajaya to abolish capital punishment for all serious crimes.

They said the aim of sentencing was to serve as a deterrent and to rehabilitate criminals to be useful citizens in society, but taking one’s life was a form of retaliation by the state against the offender.

They also doubted that the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking, which came into force about 30 years ago, had helped check the drugs menace. Read more

Freeze all executions pending mandatory death penalty review, says Ambiga

Source: The Malaysian Insider

National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says the mandatory death sentence limits the judge’s ability to use discretion based on circumstances of the drug-related offence. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 19, 2015.

The National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) has urged the government to impose a moratorium on the execution of 1,022 prisoners on death row for the time being, following Putrajaya’s announcement that it planned to abolish the mandatory death sentence on drug-related offences.

Hakam president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the plan was a step in the right direction and added that it should also be applied to all criminal offences.

She said the mandatory death sentence deprived the sentencing judge the discretion to consider all the relevant facts of the case and the individual circumstances of each convicted person.

“A sentencing judge must be given the option to impose the appropriate sentence,” Ambiga said in a statement today. Read more

End all death sentences, freeze executions, rights group tells Putrajaya

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan ― MMO File pic

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan ― MMO File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 ― Putrajaya should expand its plan to drop mandatory death sentences for drug offences and discontinue capital punishment entirely, said the National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (HAKAM).

HAKAM president Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenevasan also said that the government must refrain from carrying out any execution of the 1,022 inmates with death sentences while it is reviewing the use of the death penalty.

“The mandatory death sentence deprives the sentencing judge of the discretion to consider all relevant facts of the case and the individual circumstances of each convicted person.

“A sentencing judge must be given the option to impose the appropriate sentence,” she said in a statement.

The human rights lawyer said the death penalty violates the right to life as guaranteed under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and is “undoubtedly a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”, contrary to international law. Read more

STATEMENT: HAKAM Welcomes Move to Abolish Mandatory Death Sentence for Drug Related Offences

pdfSTATEMENT DATED 19 NOVEMBER 2015
WELCOMING GOVERNMENT’S MOVE TO ABOLISH 
MANDATORY DEATH SENTENCE FOR DRUG RELATED OFFENCES

capital punishmentThe National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (HAKAM) welcomes the Government’s move to abolish the mandatory death sentence for drug related offences.

The mandatory death sentence deprives the sentencing judge of the discretion to consider all relevant facts of the case and the individual circumstances of each convicted person. A sentencing judge must be given the option to impose the appropriate sentence.

Whilst removing the mandatory death sentence is a step in the right direction, we would call on the Government to abolish the mandatory death sentence in its entirety for all criminal offences. Read more

Setting high bail is punishment before trial, lawyers say

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Cartoonist Zunar, charged with sedition at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court last April. There is a trend of judges at lower courts setting high amounts of bail on the accused, but lawyers say it is akin to punishment before the trial concludes. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 19, 2015.

Cartoonist Zunar, charged with sedition at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court last April. There is a trend of judges at lower courts setting high amounts of bail on the accused, but lawyers say it is akin to punishment before the trial concludes. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 19, 2015.

Recent cases where a high amount of bail is imposed on the accused have led lawyers to decry the punitive action by lower court judges even before the conclusion of trial.

The primary aim of bail, lawyers said, was to secure the accused’s attendance for the trial in exchange for release from jail.

They noted the RM70,000 bail for activist Khalid Mohd Ismath for 14 charges recently, and said the sprit of being innocent until proven guilty was violated when magistrates and sessions court judges imposed such high amounts of bail.

This also punished family members, relatives and friends who have to raise large sums of money to secure freedom.

Lawyer Fahri Azzat said bail should not be punitive because the accused person was presumed innocent until proven guilty under the present legal system.

“A high bail amount imposed on accused persons amounts to a punishment and taking away of the freedom should the money required not be posted,” he said.

Fahri was asked to respond to the Johor Baru High Court which on November 11 set bail for Khalid at RM70,000 for 14 charges related to a charge of insulting the Johor royalty. Read more